As of Saturday night, the public has thought way more about Aziz Ansaris sex life than most of us ever cared to. Has the #MeToo movement finally overreached? Is Aziz Ansari, a self-anointed millennial relationship expert, just bad at sex? Or are we seeing an inevitable clash between the ideals of rah-rah sex positivity feminism and the realities of a world shaped less by lady magazine cover lines and more by outdated gender norms, by sex education dictated by pornography?
Babe.coms 3,000 words on a terminated date between a 23-year-old photographer and the Master of None star felt excessive, and at times lurid, as though the publication behind the piece had conflated journalistic seriousness and length. We now know how Ansari kisses, how he moves his hands, his speech patterns when he wants to have sex, what kind of wine he prefers. At The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan, guns blazing, condemned the piece as revenge porn published with the intent of humiliating its subject. People have a right to privacy, she argued, and the anonymously sourced piece violated that.
Many critics of the pieces publication point out that aspects of the Ansari story differ from others in the unfortunate pantheon of industry gods felled by harassment claims. In The New York Times, Bari Weiss concluded that Ansari was guilty of not being a mind reader. Its the worst thing to happen to the #MeToo movement since it started last year, Weiss argues. (Besides all of the sexual abuse, Id venture.)
Weiss is correct that the womans anonymous story doesnt include a verbal no that was ignored; in fact, the woman kept returning to the sexual encounter even after she was pretty sure she wasnt happy with how it was going and when she finally did say no, Ansari complied, they put on their clothes, and watched Seinfeld.
Unlike other cases roped into the sexual harassment reckoning, Ansari hadnt pushed the woman to perform sex acts in exchange for professional advancement, or threatened her career if she didnt comply with his requests. And unlike, say, Brett Ratner, Ansari didnt deny any parts of the story, and apologized both at the time and now.
Publicly, professional and amateur opinion-havers seem to have decided that weve finally reached the breaking point of #MeToo that columnists have been warning about for months. Privately, friends and acquaintances who work in the comedy and entertainment spaces have confessed to me that theyre leery of the Ansari storys role in the #MeToo conversation. I tweeted about my hesitance to see this as a clear-cut case of abuse, and a long, widely varying set of opinions ensued, some thoughtful and in agreement, many thoughtful and in disagreement.
Lost in the conversation about newsworthiness and privacy, even beyond the conclusion that Ansari behaved hypocritically, is an uncomfortable truth about young people, sexuality, and consent. Weiss danced with it when she asserted at the end of her piece that women needed to be braver, and that men need to stop pursuing sex like theyre porn stars. But Weiss doesnt get at the why. And until we understand the why, young women like Grace and young-ish men like Ansari will have grey-area-to-outright coercive sexual encounters that leave nobody satisfied.
In the last decade or so, feminism has come to mean whatever its self-designated say it means. I was in college when Sex and the Citys finale aired, and my friends and I, in that stupid way almost all 20-year-olds are stupid, used to repeat the Charlotte York refrain I choose my choice! to each other before making decisions we knew in advance were irresponsible. Re-watching the show as a student loan-paying adult, I realized that line wasnt supposed to be a cool thing badass chicks who dont give a fuck say to each other. It was intended to be biting commentary on how when everything is feminist, nothing is. When feminism just means feeling good about yourself all the time, its a marketing slogan, not a viable philosophy.
Years later, my first writing job was at a feminist-leaning website, where I witnessed the fourth wave take its fuzzy shape around softer issues like media representation and sex positivity, and harder issues like opposition to sexual harassment and campus rape. Sex was either something to be celebrated as victorious and empowering or reductive and victimizing. There wasnt much language for what happened in the middle, for bad sex, for sex that didnt leave a person feeling good about herself, for sex that felt mildly coercive but didnt cross the line.
Back in 2007, Cosmopolitan tried to name it, calling sex that isnt fully consensual or exactly non-consensual grey rape. But including the word rape in a description of something that isnt actually rape, unsurprisingly, didnt take off. And most of the examples used in the piece involve sex that is clearly non-consensual, sex that continues after a verbal no or a physical struggle.
Rereading Cosmos piece now, it seems like were having the same conversation a decade later, with a different cast of characters with different technology at their disposal. Many of the women experiencing grey rape were in college or their early twenties, the average Cosmo reader. They want to have the all-caps GREAT SEX the magazine promises, but that GREAT SEX requires them to gloss over the complexity of what many young women want from sex. The piece quoted a psychotherapist named Robi Ludwig, who said, Womens self-esteem at that age is tied into how they are experienced by men, and part of dealing with that social anxiety is to drink it away or drug it away. They say to themselves that itll work out okay, with some thinking that maybe theyll end up in a relationship.
I was once a woman in her early twenties; I remember how that feels. I remember how, even though I was raised by parents who taught me to tell people exactly what I want and what I will not toleratewomen, men, bosses, strangers who look at me funnythere was a particular resistance in my mind when it came to telling men that they couldnt have what they wanted from me. Sometimes women have sex with men just because they dont want to make it awkward. The quote from the Cosmo pieceWomens self-esteem at that age is tied to how they are experienced by menis diametrically opposed to the concept of being self-possessed enough to disappoint men by turning them down.
Some young women, particularly millennial young women towed through their teens by internet feminism, reach young adulthood knowing how to say yes but not knowing how to come out and say no. NO isnt as fun, fearless, female as YES. Youd never see NO on the cover of Cosmo unless it was followed by the words MORE DRAMA.
Theres also a fear of physical retaliation, the seed of panic that sits in the pit of a womans stomach when an encounter turns from fulfilling to frightening. The likelihood that Ansari would have physically retaliated against his anonymous accuser is small; ostensibly women turn men down for sex all the time without experiencing physical consequences. But the two had just met; they barely knew each other. How could she have known what kind of guy he was? Women feel this fear all the time when things start to sour. We want them to go well, we go into them hoping they will. Sometimes they dont. Ive never seen a mainstream womens publication publish 10 super hot tips on how to leave a date with a guy who you definitely dont want to sleep with.
As women like Grace were raised on the promise that they will one day love liberated sex, men Ansaris age were raised on the worst possible place to learn about sex: the internet. Ansaris anonymous accuser compared his actions to that of a horny teenager who didnt know what he was doing, like somebody who learned about how to have sex from watching pornography. Men born after 1986 or so, men now in their thirties, have likely had access to the internet and its commensurate trove of porn since they were tweens. (Thats not to say that all pornography is bad in all circumstances, but even the most sex-positive among us can probably agree that its a bad thing for young people to watch during their sexually formative years.) Theres bound to be a clash between women raised to believe sex is empowering for women and men who spent their teen years jerking off to sex thats frequently degrading to women.
And even without porn raising boys to believe that human breasts look like two half-globes perched high beneath tight spray-tanned pectoral skin, young men and women are still, to an extent, raised to believe that it is a womans job to be a sexual gatekeeper and a mans job to argue his way into sex. Some men are raised with the fucked-up notion that nonverbal cues are not a hard no; some women are raised with the fucked-up notion that they should give nonverbal cues when they want to have sex, but dont want the man theyre about to have sex with to think theyre easy.
If nothing else, the Ansari piece exposed that there is no consensus on what consensual sex is. How can we possibly accuse anybody of being deliberate, ill-intended predators based on definitions which large swaths of the population dispute? How can we accuse a young woman of being a weak whiner if we dont understand the mechanisms that went into her decision making?
What consent looks like, why its shaped the way it is now, who is giving it and who is deliberately misreading it should be pretty basic tenets of what sex is. Its clear, however, that not all young people are on the same page about what nonverbal cues mean, of what sex means, of what an invitation to an apartment means, what a predator is. Its not a simple discussion. But if we dont have it now, in 10 years some writer, spurred by a sex scandal involving a celebrity, will go back to an old article she remembers reading in her early twenties, back in 2018. Shell read it again and shake her head in disbelief that after all that, weve still made so little progress.
If you like our content help us with a share… or two …
Also - I have some free stuff for you .......
Nr 1. In This FREE Report you can Discover:
Secrets to acquiring the freshest, hottest leads via YouTube In-Stream ads quickly and easily! Best secret tips for the most effective targeting for your ads! Totally legal, but little-known method for literally stealing traffic from your competitors! Get more traffic to your videos and landing pages without spending a fortune! And much more - all within this special FREE report!
Nr 2. Did you know you can Absolutely EXPLODE YOUR EMAIL LIST FOR FREE with UNTOUCHED offline sources?
Nr 3. The #1 secret to becoming an affiliate superstar - Earn your first $100 online – without a dime to invest.
If you’re still looking to “make it online – I have just the thing for you. It’s a video series that shows how to make your first $100 online – even if you don’t have a dime to invest. Yes – nothing. Free. Nada. Is this possible? You bet. It’s the most powerful system used by those “in the know”. Good things don’t have to be difficult. And they don’t only come to those who wait. Have A Look
Nr 4. Top 10 Email Marketing Mistakes. Which of these mistakes do you make?
Nr 5. You can learn about : The hottest social networking site that will send an unlimited stampede of traffic to your site - for FREE! How to quickly locate a swarm of hungry buyers using "information portals"! The fast and easy way to use simple images to siphon targeted traffic, on command! Learn how to get the most possible traffic from Instagram, and make sure that traffic converts! And much more ...
Nr 6. It’s no secret… Facebook is an incredible place to get tons of free, viral traffic. But… most people are going about it all wrong. How many of these mistakes are you making? Download the free report to find out.
Nr 7. Special free report . It's called "Operation Midas Touch" and you can download it here...
The report features a surefire method for generating at least $1000 per week online,without a website or product of your own!
Nr 8. Instagram is still one of the hottest ways to get a LOT of traffic fast. All by sharing images. Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, yes and no. If you want to really start driving a lot of traffic and making sales using Instagram then you should download this report.
Nr 9. When it comes to creating a product online there are so many ways to approach it. Wouldn’t it be great to just get the meat of it all so you can get started faster? Well, the good news is, today you can download a guide called the Product Creation Formula Quickstart Guide. It’s as the title suggests - a Quickstart guide. You’ll get a list of action steps to take right away. Download your copy today !
Nr 10. Would you like to finally USE all of that dusty PLR you have sitting around on your harddrive? Or maybe find the resources for the best PLR available - at the best prices? What about how to use that PLR to make you money with just a few minutes of work. Well, you’re not going to want to miss this!
Nr 11. Buzzfeed’s top post has more than 21 million views. Think about that for a sec… ONE of their articles has had over 21 million people who have read it! And they have thousands of articles... what would you do with that kind of traffic? A friend of mine hacked their method and was able to use it to get 11,592 targeted new subscribers in 2 weeks on their very first attempt!
Nr 12. Push notifications are one of today's hottest trends in website traffic and conversions, and for good reason. Studies have shown that as many as 40% of people will opt-in for push notifications, which is about TEN TIMES the rate of people who opt-in for emails! That’s huge! Not only that, but they're also highly effective at pulling clicks, as well. Some studies have shown CTR at an average of around 40%, with highs of as much as 80%! Again, that’s huge!
Nr 13. Would you like to know how to get more money from the exact same number of website visitors you’re currently getting? Even if you’re website is getting as few as 1-2 visitors a day, this report will show you how to increase your profits using these few handy hacks.
Nr 14. People have now realised that it's not the size of the list which matters, it's the quality. ... and the only way to create a quality list is by launching your own products. Let it be $7 ebooks, $17 info products, $27 video training product or software's... all of these work. My good friend Kevin Fahey has is revealing how he's launched over 20 products in the past 4 years, many of them top sellers. Needless to say he's banked a handsome amount in this time.
Nr 15. Do you ever feel that the man you like or even love, just doesn't see you or desire you in way you want him to? Or... maybe you're able to get a man's attention though not the right kind of attention? Or... maybe you're still single because you wait and wait for men to approach you first? What you may not know is that the way we flirt will either attract the "wrong" man for us or the "right" man.
Nr 16. When it comes to getting sales and leads online, there is ONE thing that 95% of marketers use... it's called a LIST. My friend Jimmy just released a free book that explains WHY a list is important and how YOU can build your own list. It's available right here (and it won't cost you a penny)
Nr 17. If you have tried everything, and still aren't able to get your Ex back, then you need to pay attention.
Nr 18. What if I told you that you could make ANY woman WANT to do ANYTHING for you? Would you think I'm crazy? Well... what If I told you that you could also make her LOVE every minute of it and come back for more?
Nr 19. I have a special free plugin for you today. It's called "Covert Hover Mini"
This plugin will triple your blog traffic by compelling your visitors to share your images on social media. This is some really clever stuff and it works like a charm. After you grab your free plugin, don't forget to read the free bonus report as it will show exactly how and why this strategy works like crazy.
Nr 20. The days of being able to get away with a basic WP theme and a pic or two are gone, your site needs to look good. Even Google are looking for you to have engaging graphics on your site. But getting good quality graphics made for your site is a pain, AND it will cost you both time and money (if you outsource it). But I have a special free download for you today. A virtual treasure chest of over 21K profit pulling graphics you can start sing today to generate more traffic & sales!
Nr 21. 20 professional full HD background videos. These background videos are perfect for giving your videos that extra kick they need to stand out from the crowd Oh yeah they are in full 1080p HD too, I hope you'll enjoy them.
Nr 23. No doubt, you've seen all of the video launches lately! There is a reason for it... Video marketing is a GREAT way to make money, and with the recent creation tools making it super accessable for anyone to get started... It's no surprise that more people are making videos. However... there is a missing element to most video marketing products...
Nr 24. For the first time ever... You can get the straight scoop on how someone is selling over $1,000,000/year of t-shirts on Facebook!Use them .... and have fun !